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Somalia FETP trains health workers to rapidly detect and respond to disease outbreaks

The long march to rebuilding Somalia’s capacity in disease surveillance and response, largely a result of decades of civil unrest and conflict, has taken another step forward.

The Somalia National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services have recently completed the second workshop of Cohort II of the frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program (frontline FETP).

Held from 22 - 26 May 2022 in Mogadishu, the training brought together health workers from national and state levels from across the country. These include public health emergency officers from states and the national public health laboratory 

According to Dr. Alemework Getinet, AFENET’s senior epidemiologist in Somalia, this training is critical to the program because it is one of the three didactic classroom workshops that focuses on training which enables mentees to build their capacity in outbreaks detection, investigation, and response. 

She added that “the attendance and performances of 96% in field activities is an accomplishment that can only be achieved through a collaborative activity of mentors, peer mentors and field supervisors and this workshop provides such a platform.”

The training was facilitated by experienced field epidemiologists from AFENET, WHO, and Global Implementation Solutions. These included Amelework Getinet – AFENET Senior Epidemiologist, Mr. Kasim Mahdi – AFENET Epidemiologist, Dr. Lilly Nyagah- WHO Epidemiologist, Mr. Steven Ssendagire – WHO Epidemiologist, Mr. Sulaiman Bangura – WHO Epidemiologist, and Mr. Ahmed Fidow –  Epidemiologist/ FETP consultant GIS.

The general discussion at the workshop was chaired by the training director of the National Institute of Health Mr. Daud Ibrahim, who led participants and mentors in discussions to address the challenge related to access of data and challenges in reporting using the early warning, alert, and response network (EWARN) and that were identified through the data quality assessment.

The Somalia frontline FETP was initiated in October 2021 as part of efforts towards building the country’s public health workforce that is able to rapidly detect and respond to disease outbreaks.